Thursday, June 17, 2010

My take on the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill:

I've been watching the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations hearing with BP CEO, Tony Hayward on C-SPAN.

First let me state that I have no political affiliation or agenda. I'm just a normal Joe who is tired of all this mess. I think that most people in Washington are really missing the mark. I've spent the last 2 hours listening to our lawmakers on their soapboxes slamming BP with no retort.

Hear me out, I'm not defending BP. They are to blame for this disaster. But I think our representatives and WE are again missing the REAL problem. Don't they remember Exxon? We are always looking to blame someone but, I think, if you really look at this for what it is, WE are to blame.

The root of the problem is really OUR unending thirst for oil and its by-products. BP, EXXON, SHELL and all the other Oil companies are only trying to profit from our insatiable need for oil.

This disaster would have happened even if BP was not drilling. Some other company would be drilling and would try to cut costs in any way they could. The real root of the problem is US. We demand fuels. As long as that demand exists there will be a company that is willing to do whatever it takes to bring that product to market.

Do you think that all the wildlife that are being killed are blaming BP? NO, they are being killed by Humans. We all have to take a little credit for this disaster. Each one of us are contributing to this vicious cycle of selfishness and greed.

So what should I do? Boycott BP? That will do nothing. Remember EXXON? They seem to be doing fine. The only thing I can see that will help end this craziness is to reduce MY requirements of oil and oil products. To use the cleche' : reduce my carbon footprint. Where there is no demand there is no product. I'm not naive enough to believe that this will solve the problem but if we all reduce just a little bit, maybe it will have a little impact. I seem to remember that the U.S. had a population of a little over 307 million as of 2009. If we each can reduce our fuel requirements by one barrel (42 gallons) a year, that would really hit the oil companies where it hurts! 42 gallons (if I can make that leap) is maybe two fill-ups. Combine chores, take mass transit one day a week. It doesn't seem that difficult to save a little on our use of gas.

Since the economy has really hit me hard, I have no money to give to help the effort to try to clean up this mess. I can't travel to the Gulf Coast to volunteer with the clean-up. The only thing I can do is try to reduce my use of fossil fuels and energy in general. It's the least I can do,  to a least try....

Here's a GREAT video from twitter! Very hard to watch but still great!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hand Feeding a Tufted Titmouse

I got such a nice response from my 'Hand Fed Titmouse' photo that I posted on Twitter I thought I'd give you more information on how the photo came about.

I know that you probably will not believe half of what I'm going to write but, I assure you that it all is true and not enhanced to make a better story.

Ok, here's how it went...
I had, for years, tried to get a Chickadee to eat from my hand. I tried everything, I even made a 'dummy' using an old shirt with a glove that contained seed to entice the little buggers. Nothing seemed to work. I would stand on my deck with upraised palms full of seed for hours to entice them to eat. No luck. Not even close. I have seen many pictures on the internet of Chickadees eating out of peoples hands but couldn't get any interest out of the Chickadees in my backyard. I soon gave up.

One morning last year, I went out to my deck to have my morning smoke.. I know.. a nasty habit but that's what I was doing. A Titmouse landed on the deck railing about 3 feet from me hollering like crazy. It was looking directly at me raising a fit!

I normally refill my feeders in the morning because the Raccoons empty them out at night. On this morning, I didn't refill the feeders first thing. So, I figured that the little Titmouse was miffed that I had neglected them! I went straight inside and got the seed to refill the feeders. I no sooner filled the feeder when the Titmouse was there feasting away on the new seed. I could walk right up to the feeder and he didn't mind at all. I could almost reach out and touch him!

The next day the same thing happened. That started me to think that I may have a chance to hand feed this boisterous little bird.

On the third day, I went out to the deck in the morning and the same thing played out. This pushy little Titmouse landed about 3 feet from me and was yelling his head off and looking directly at me. I thought to myself that this was the morning I'd see if it would take seed from my hand. I went back inside and grabbed a handful of sunflower seeds and went back out to the deck. I placed my hand, full of sunflower seeds, palm up, with the back of my hand resting on the rail. I could see that it wanted to get the seed but it still was hesitant to grab the seed from my hand. After a few false starts he jumped onto my finger and grabbed a seed and then flew off like a flash! VERY COOL! He came two more times to get seed and I was delighted that a WILD bird was eating out of my hand. Albeit, resting on the rail.

The next morning I decided to see if I could raise my hand off of the railing and have him really eating out of my hand. Well, to my surprise, he did. Again, it took a couple of false starts before he landed on my outstretched hand! Very, Very, cool!

Ok, now here's the part I know you will not believe but it really did happen. I'm not making this up and not hallucinating! I know, I did the blog on remembering the 60's and 70's, but this really did happen.

The next morning I got out of bed and went into the bathroom. My bathroom is on the second floor right above the deck where I'd been feeding the Titmouse. I did my normal routine (no details). I got out of the shower and went to the sink to shave. While I was shaving I noticed a flutter out of the corner of my eye (in the mirror). Since I didn't have my glasses on I figured it was just the old 'morning vision' playing with me. Then I saw it again. This time I turned around and looked out of the window that faces the deck. There was the Titmouse 'hovering' outside of my window looking in! I am not going crazy, this REALLY HAPPENED! It was chirping like crazy and hovering just outside the window. I WAS FLOORED!

I quickly finished shaving and ran downstairs and grabbed some sunflower seed and hit the deck. He came almost instantly to my hand and had his feast! It was just INCREDIBLE!

I hand fed my little buddy for about a month. I could tell him from all the other Titmice because he had a black smudge on his cheek. Plus, he was the only one bold enough to eat out of my hand!

I never have seen him again but I've kept looking. I only hope he is alive and well but I know the mortality rate of birds. I loved every second of feeding that little guy. I know he was only there for the easy food source but I still feel a little Male bonding was going on!

Anyway, That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Here's a few photo's of me and my little buddy:

To see larger photos go to my web site: